Adding a Platform Bed and Window Screens to Our Toyota Sienna, Rocky

11 Oct
2011
Posted in: Adventure Prep
By    9 Comments

Matt C. wrote in asking about our rig.  Well, up until yesterday, Rocky was a pretty standard Toyota Sienna, but with the help of Lisa’s folks, we built our bed platform and created window screens for the side windows.  Tonight will be the first sleepy test run.

The wood was reclaimed from the old McNamara barn in Redfield, NY.  Bob and Carolyn dismantled the barn last summer with the help of friends and family after tracking down its location.  Thanks to sleuthing and luck (the barn was nearly demo’d two summers ago, but the contractor never showed and the current owner procrastinated), what was once part of Lisa’s great-great grandfather’s dairy barn now gets to tour the continent with us!

Here’s how it all happened:

Plans ... don't let the grid paper fool you into thinking these were accurate and precise.

Plans ... don't let the grid paper fool you into thinking these were accurate and precise.

Gutted -- rear seats, captain chairs, center console all removed.

Gutted -- rear seats, captain chairs, center console all removed.

Test run of the support beams.  The uneven floor made this tricky.

Test run of the support beams. The uneven floor made this tricky.

Lateral support structure.

Lateral support structure.

Installing the first few slats.

Installing the first few slats.

Slats, lower back nearly done.

Slats, lower back nearly done.

Detail of the reclaimed hardwood slats.

Detail of the reclaimed hardwood slats.

Toyota Sienna platform bed complete!

Toyota Sienna platform bed complete!

Hinged read section detail.

Hinged read section detail.

Rear section open -- lots of storage access.

Rear section open -- lots of storage access.

Starboard screen.  These things were tricky.

Starboard screen. These things were tricky.

Screen detail -- velcro'd to the window frame.

Screen detail -- velcro'd to the window frame.

We love our new setup — thanks Bob and Carolyn!

  • Coultl

    Incredible. I assumed that you were just going to stuff an inflatable back there.

    • http://www.pauldavidolson.com/blog/ Paul David Olson

      Hell no.  This is varsity travel.

  • Curtis

    Very nicely done, I especially  like the ability to open the storage portion.

  • Jess

    How did you make the window screens? I use a 5″ thick foam rubber futon mattress, but it’s either mosquitos or stale air unless I can figure out a way to do a screen for at least one window.

    • http://drivinginertia.com/ Paul David Olson

      They’re a custom sewing job + stick-on velcro. 

    • http://www.drivinginertia.com/ Lisa M

      My mom and I slaved over them — we made patterns for the windows, then cut noseeum netting to fit the pattern. Then she sewed one side of regular backed velcro to the screen (a tedious process!) and then we stuck the opposing side of a sticky backed velcro around the window. There was much trial and error. The sticky back velcro likes to melt from the heat of the sun and then the whole thing falls down. We’re replacing the sticky side now and hoping it holds out for another few months. There must be a better way, but I can’t think of it! If you have a car with metal fully around the window, you might want to try something like this: http://www.theskeeterbeater.com/

      • Jess

        Hm, that was where I got stuck, too. I didn’t want to damage or drill into the interior plastic, but didn’t see a lot of other options. I made my own custon screens that use magnetic tape to stick in the outside for my vanagon, but my ’06 Sienna has a lot of plastic around the windows. I think I will look at that again, though. If it doesn’t work, I may resort to installing snaps around the window openings in the interior. It might reduce the resale value of the car, but what the heck, I plan on driving it into the ground anyhow…

    • sheon

      I know this is post is old but if anyone finds it, I’m snaps. You have screw in bases for around the windows and then you attach the top half to the screen. I’m also using snaps for my blackout curtains.

  • Lololo

    Window screens even less engineered (but easy): Cut noseeum netting about 5″ beyond all sides. Get about a half dozen small pieces of cardboard (about 2 x 2 maybe). Install inside the vehicle. The cardboard pieces slip under the interior gaskets, but you have to be careful to get the cardboard stiff enough to hold the netting, but thin enough not to distort the netting. Works great. The excess fabric keeps the gaps filled.